I’ve been waking early, sometimes as early as 3:00 or 4:00, most days before the sun rises. I enjoy these early morning hours when it feels like all the world sleeps and I alone bear witness to the farewell of the moon and stars as the grey sky lightens. This morning as I sat at my desk I caught a movement from the edge of my vision and turned to watch a rat sliding silently around the kitchen floor, looking for openings. Oddly, I didn’t squeal or flail in fear. No sense waking the entire house. Just moments before I had stood in the kitchen making coffee, unaware that I shared the room with a watching rodent. Now I keep turning to check – has it come back to investigate the closed cabinet doors? Will it silently slither over to my desk? I feel a bit jumpy.
This is what my life has been like for the last several months (years?). I go about my way, looking for small comforts in the midst of severe hardship, taking small breaths, while a rat runs around the edges, gnawing away at my serenity, keeping me off balance when I notice its quiet movements.
This long season of abject poverty has taught me many wonderful lessons. Things I thought I knew but had only heard tell of are now my very own. Learning to rest in uncertainty and to glory in small pleasures are what has sustained me and kept me sane.
So I’m not screaming for help as the rat silently shares my morning, but I’m not going into the kitchen either. Not until the daylight and activity chase it back through its secret hole into the neighboring field.
“We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world”. ~ Walt Whitman